The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. CERTs is highlighting these leaders during the month of March in 2016, which is Women’s History Month.
As part of the series we interviewed Jill Curran, Executive Director of Minnesota Waste Wise and Energy Smart, to learn more about her work, what inspires her, and how other women can get involved in the industry. Read on to learn more!
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in the energy world in Minnesota?
I am the Executive Director of the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation and am also Director of Sustainability Programs (Energy Smart and Waste Wise) at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Our primary purpose is to advance environmental sustainability practices and projects in the commercial and industrial sectors. On the energy front, we dabble in renewable energy projects but our main focus is on energy efficiency projects.
How did you get into this work?
I was hired by the Foundation in 2008 to start the Energy Smart program. Prior to that, I worked for a corporation in the community and environmental affairs department.
What is a typical day like for you?
I do fundraising for the two programs through my role as Executive Director of the Foundation. I also supervise the work of nine full-time staff whose primary role is to conduct on-site energy and waste consultation and facilitate projects. I also administer the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Business Environmental Sustainability Project Finance Program.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
Getting the projects done and not getting the projects done. We’re always amazed by how hard it is to engage businesses and get them to do projects which we show on paper will help their bottom line.
What about your job inspires you?
The possibilities. No matter how much a business has done to use less energy in their building, there is always more they can consider. It’s especially fun when a business we’ve worked with comes back to us and says they’d like us to help them with another project.
What advice do you have for women who are thinking about working in energy?
Get technical training. The more you know about energy-related equipment and technology, the better. Also, develop your people skills. Relationship building is key to gaining trust and getting the projects done.
Jill Curran is responsible for directing the activities of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Waste Wise, Energy Smart program. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2008 as the manager of the Energy Smart program.
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For #wmnhist #IWD2016
mncerts</a> is highlighting 18 women leading MN's <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CleanEnergy?src=hash">#CleanEnergy</a> industry! <a href="https://t.co/N6dQ6gXx6U">https://t.co/N6dQ6gXx6U</a> <a href="https://t.co/q0ZWy51Iym">pic.twitter.com/q0ZWy51Iym</a></p>— CERTs (MNCERTs) March 1, 2016
|About the Author: Kathleen McGee is a freelance writer and content strategist for environmental organizations. She can be reached at [email protected]|
The Minnesota Women in Energy series highlights influential women who are part of our state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy industries during Women’s History Month.